Readers write: NRA is not the enemy

The Island Now

It is apparently a given that those who would protest a dinner supporting the National Rifle Association are generally those who possess little knowledge of guns, gun safety, and logical thought.

Millions of Americans own guns, and those who are NRA members are among the safest, most considerate you can find. Those who have disdain for guns and the NRA likely have never received training in gun safety, much less even handled a firearm. Those of us who have been trained in the proper use and handling of firearms have a healthy respect for the damage that they can inflict, and we are trained to follow all the safety rules and laws regarding them.

I was first trained in gun safety at age eleven while spending my summer in sleepaway camp. The camp had a rifle team, and we were taught how to handle a .22 caliber rifle, load, clean and shoot it. It was all about marksmanship, and safety was the primary lesson.

In the latter half of the 1960s, during six years in the military, I learned how to use a rifle or sidearm for both offense and defense. I saw firsthand the damage that might be inflicted on an opponent– not a lesson taken lightly. I became expert at shooting, and thankfully did not see combat where I would have had to exercise the skills I had been taught. Most of my fellow veterans were not so fortunate.

I am now 75 years of age and my love of shooting has not dissipated.

Although I prefer not to hunt, I respect those who do. They practice the lessons learned in the military and through the NRA. They are responsible citizens, and have a healthy respect for life and ethical, legal behavior. I know hundreds of gun owners, and not one of them has committed more than a traffic infraction, and all own and shoot their guns with respect for safety and the law.

Several time each year, I meet with an NRA-sponsored group that teaches women gun safety and how to shoot. The feedback from the ladies is always positive, and many of them have lost their fear of firearms and gained respect for the firearms at the same time. It’s heartwarming to see their pride and sense of accomplishment having gained the knowledge and the experience.

The Second Amendment is a guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms. This cannot be questioned. It has already been legislated that there are conditions which preclude gun ownership – criminal behavior, mental or emotional unfitness, etc.– but the laws are already on the books. Gun-free zones do not work, nor do gun-free cities. The perpetrators of gun violence don’t care about laws or gun-free zones. They are criminals, not law-abiding citizens. Just look at Chicago, Newark, Detroit– the list goes on. In gun-free zones, only criminals have guns.

As every decent person should be, I am horrified and saddened when some troubled or deranged individual goes into a school, theater or other venue to slaughter innocent people. When law enforcement is called, and it takes them two or three minutes to be on scene, the slaughter has already taken place. It’s now too late to intercede, the damage is done and is irreversible.

Yet people are against arming trained individuals who would be present to protect our children where they are most vulnerable– in their schools. In my view this is great folly, and the NRA has proposed solutions, but the uneducated public fights the proposal due to ignorance. I would certainly have a trained marksman on staff for rapid response to an active shooter, possibly able to stop the problem before it gets to the tragic level.

I’m proud to be a member of the National Rifle Association, as they represent safe, legal, skilled ownership and use of firearms by all, and are firmly aligned on the side of good enforcement of existing gun laws without treatment that is prejudicial to safe gun owners.

Kudos to The Inn at New Hyde Park for standing on principle and not backing down despite the protests. Let those who protest about what they don’t know learn more about the NRA, maybe even take a gun safety class, and try a few hours at the county range with a trained instructor. It’s a great way to become educated about the subject.

Eric Spinner

New Hyde Park

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The Island Now

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